Observing Snail Mail

May 28, 2013 § 9 Comments

I stumbled across an article yesterday titled “My Teenage Son Does Not Know How To Mail A Letter – I Blame Technology“. It was quite mind-boggling to realize that there’s a younger generation that has never sent or received a physical letter. That they may have no idea how to write out the address on an envelope. Time really slips by fast when you aren’t paying attention.

Growing up with a father that works in foreign services meant a lot of moving around. Every few years we would get the notice to pack our bags, hug our friends and say goodbye to the life that we have grown to love. Before the internet and email became readily available, sending letters was the only way to keep in touch (or K*I*T* according to my yearbook) with friends. International calls was an option that my parents vetoed from the start as each minute cost a small fortune.

Snail mail is by far one of the most intimate forms of communication between two people. From picking out stationary, drawing doodles and choosing the right words; every step is a process that involves precious time and effort. Each letter is personalized and unique to the addressee, making the experience even more exciting and special. None of this mass email update and send-to-all contacts nonsense that we’ve grown accustomed to.

I keep all the letters and postcards I receive!

I keep all the letters and postcards I receive!

We live in a time where we thrive on instant gratifications. Whether it is from a like, a retweet or a reblog, the satisfaction comes quickly and leaves even faster. That shot of dopamine makes us want to post more, tweet more  just to feel that momentary happiness again. Like drinking soda while dehydrated, you’re left wanting more. When you receive an actual letter in your mailbox, you’re left with happiness that lingers longer than a quick Facebook wall post. Thanks to the internet, the effort and speed of maintaining relationships have both been drastically reduced. Thus receiving a letter has become especially meaningful as the time and effort to write something on a piece of paper have almost become extinct.

One of my close friends has sent a series of these beautiful side-by-side comparisons of different places and things

One of my close friends has sent a series of these beautiful side-by-side comparisons of different places and things

 

Awesome postcard from my friend Sean

Awesome postcard from my friend Sean

Snail mail may be a lost art form to the younger generation, but it is one that I cling even harder now (you’re welcome postal service.) Instead of sending out long-winded letters of all my day-to-day life updated (that’s what Twitter is for), I have turned to sending postcards. Lots and lots of postcards. The limited space for writing is a welcomed challenge for my creative brain. Sentences are replaced with haikus (as they are the only form of poetry I can manage) and doodles substituted with the  picture on the back.

Picking out unique postcards has become a lovely pastime. I never hesitate to buy a stack if I stumble across a good design as it gives me more motivation to send them out. If they don’t end up in someone’s mailbox, they usually end up on my wall:

My bedroom wall

My bedroom wall

Do you still send/receive snail mail? When was the last time you received mail?

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Ringing In The New Year – Thumbs Up Taiwan!

January 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

NYE 2012 was surprisingly awesome for me since this was my first time going out to celebrate New Year’s (for more details, hit up my other blog here). I sincerely hope the world doesn’t end this year so that I can have another go at it next year!

I loved how characteristics of Taiwanese society and culture is so prominently displayed during large social events such as NYE. People are very polite and courteous to one another, even though we’re all squished together on the streets. Large groups of friends and family gather together for BBQ/cook-out. Though there is trash on the streets, it seems that people at least make an effort to toss all the trash in a distinctive pile. Just some observations I made while I was semi-intoxicated and being distracted by the number of food stalls that have sprung up from nowhere.

My favorite was the motivational messages/new year blessings that appeared on the scrolling text on Taipei 101. I think it’s a pretty great reflection of Taiwanese society and culture:

"Happy 快樂"

"Taiwan 台灣 Like 讚"

I almost pissed my pants when this text scrolled out. This is the most iconic building in Taiwan, and the scrolling text has a “like” and a thumbs up, just like on facebook. Whoever was planning these messages had a sense of humor for sure.

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